Diverse Voices in Juvenile Literature

Posted on July 3, 2018

by Regina S

Connect with someone with a different background from you with these compelling Middle Grade reads.

Juvenile Fiction for 4th & 5th Graders

All’s Faire in Middle School” by Victoria Jamieson

All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson

Homeschooled by Renaissance Fair enthusiasts, eleven-year-old Imogene has a hard time fitting in when her wish to enroll in public school is granted.

Ashes to Asheville” by Sarah Dooley

Ashes to Asheville by Sarah Dooley

Twelve-year-old Fella is swept away on a wild road trip by her older sister Zany to fulfill their late mother’s dying wish.

Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire” by Susan Tan

Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire by Susan Tan

A biracial young writer begins penning her memoirs in the hope that her family will not forget about her when a new baby sibling arrives, describing her embarrassment at having little hair as a toddler, her struggles with reading and the cultural traditions she shares with her Chinese grandparents.

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground” by Rita Williams-Garcia

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia

Feeling most alive when he’s playing the blues with his grandfather, Clayton is devastated when his grandfather dies and his mother forbids him from playing music, losses that compel him to run away and join bluesmen on the road. Also available in Audio and eAudio.

Crenshaw” by Katherine Applegate

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

A story about a homeless boy and his imaginary friend that proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary. Also available in eBook and eAudio.

The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora” by Pablo Cartaya

The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya

Funny and poignant, The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora is the vibrant story of a family, a striking portrait of a town, and one boy’s quest to save both, perfect for fans of Rita Williams-Garcia. Also available in Audio and eAudio.

Fish in a Tree” by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Ally’s greatest fear is that everyone will find out she is as dumb as they think she is because she still doesn’t know how to read. Also available in Audio, eBook and eAudio.

Flying Lessons and Other Stories” by Ellen Oh

Flying Lessons and Other Stories by Ellen Oh

From basketball dreams and family fiascos to first crushes and new neighborhoods, this anthology, written by award-winning children’s authors, celebrates the uniqueness and universality in all of us. Also available in Audio, eBook and eAudio.

Forever, or a Long, Long Time” by Caela Carter

Forever, or a Long, Long Time by Caela Carter

Having shared so many foster homes that they are unable to trust that the family that has adopted them will last, Flora and her brother, Julian, are assisted by their new mother on a journey to resolve their past so that they can build a future.

Funny Girl: Funniest. Stories. Ever.” by Betsy Bird

Funny Girl: Funniest. Stories. Ever. by Betsy Bird

Presents a collection of humorous stories from over two dozen contemporary female writers, as well as autobiographical essays, comics, poems, and comic strips. Also available in eBook.

Hello Universe” by Erin Entrada Kelly

Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

Lives of four misfits are intertwined when a bully’s prank lands shy Virgil at the bottom of a well and Valencia, Kaori, and Gen band together in an epic quest to find and rescue him. Also available in Audio, eBook and eAudio.

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus” by Dusti Bowling

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

New friends and a mystery help Aden, thirteen, adjust to middle school and life at a dying western theme park in a new state, where her being born armless presents many challenges.

See You in the Cosmos” by Jack Cheng

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

Eleven-year-old Alex Petroski, along with his dog, Carl Sagan, makes big discoveries about his family on a road trip and he records it all on a golden iPod he intends to launch into space. Also available in Audio, eBook and eAudio.

Sunny” by Jason Reynolds

Sunny by Jason Reynolds

Sunny, the Defenders’ best runner, only runs for his father, who blames Sunny for his mother’s death, but with his coach’s help Sunny finds a way to combine track and field with his true passion, dancing.

The Best Man” by Richard Peck


Archer has four important role models in his life–his dad, his grandfather, his uncle Paul, and his favorite teacher, Mr. McLeod. When Uncle Paul and Mr. McLeod get married, Archer’s sixth-grade year becomes one he’ll never forget.

The First Rule of Punk” by Celia C. Perez

The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez

When her first day at a new school is overshadowed by a clash with a queen bee and her dress code violating punk-rock clothes, 12-year-old Malú listens to her faraway dad’s advice and resolves to be herself by pursuing the interests she loves and standing up to an anti-punk administration. Also available in eAudio.

The Parker Inheritance” by Varian Johnson

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

Spending the summer in Lambert, South Carolina, Candice discovers the letter that sent her grandmother on a treasure hunt, and with her new friend Brandon, sets off to expose the injustice once committed against a local African American family.

The Stars Beneath Our Feet” by David Barclay Moore

The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore

A boy tries to steer a safe path through the projects in Harlem in the wake of his brother’s death in this outstanding debut novel. Also available in Audio and eAudio.

Wishtree” by Katherine Applegate

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

An old red oak tree tells how he and his crow friend, Bongo, help their human neighbors get along after a threat against an immigrant family is carved into the tree’s trunk. Also available in Audio, eBook and eAudio.

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